French police face probe over violence
A French police probe has been opened into what happened when an arrested protester appeared to have a telescopic truncheon pushed inside his trousers while he was pinned down by officers.
Parisian police chiefs have asked the IGPN, the body that investigates French police abuses, to investigate the videos of the Boulevard du Montparnasse incident.
The video from shows a protester surrounded on the ground by CRS riot police and one appears to insert his truncheon inside the back of his trousers.
Other incidents caught on video show a helmeted officer hitting a protester and another officer throwing a paving stone at the crowd.
The May Day protests are usually a union-led day of action but this year’s event attracted the yellow vests movement and “black blocks” of dark-clad protesters.
Shop windows were smashed and more than 7,000 police officers deployed.
The police used tear gas and water cannon while making around 380 arrests. The authorities reported 38 injuries, including 14 officers, one of whom was hit on the head by a paving stone.
A video shows a man being slapped twice in the face by an officer while a woman with him is pushed around.
Interior minister Christophe Castaner said protesters attacking the La Pitié-Salpêtrière teaching hospital in the 13th arrondissement of central Paris.Christophe Castaner
The hospital reported that staff had to block protesters at the door of the Pitié-Salpêtrière ICU, where Princess Diana died in 1997.
Since the yellow vest protests began on November 17, 2018, government figures suggest at least 11 people have died, around 8,400 were detained, more than 2,000 were injured and 1,796 people have been jailed.
There have been 21 people reported with eye injuries, 204 head wounds, 68 leg injuries, 41 chest wounds and five people lost a hand.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s rights commissioner, called on the French authorities to show more respect for human rights, to refrain from excessive restrictions of peaceful assembly and stop the use of tear gas.
At least 37 children have also reportedly been injured during the yellow-vest protests.
Video of children at the start of the protests in Mantes-la-Jolie kneeling with their hands behind their heads angered many in France.
Around 56 journalists covering the protests have been injured.
Videos show the police tackling journalists and breaking cameras.
The French police have faced heavy criticism since the rioting started in November. Picture credit: Wikimedia